Rolls-Royce to Open Remote Controlled and Autonomous Shipping Center in Finland

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March 8, 2017

A conceptual design illustration showing a 1,000 TEU container feeder. Image credit: Rolls-Royce 

Rolls-Royce has announced plans to open a global research and development center for the advancement of remote controlled and autonomous shipping technology in Turku, Finland.

The center is expected to be opened this year.

Rolls-Royce is at the forefront of the development of remote controlled and autonomous ships, with a stated goal of seeing a remote controlled ship in commercial use by the end of the decade.

On Wedensday, the company confirmed it had signed a significant research grant by Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, which will enable Rolls-Royce to invest more in the research and development center in Turku.

“Finland is the home of top ICT expertise and a strong maritime cluster. That is why Rolls-Royce has decided to establish the centre in Turku”, says SVP Sauli Eloranta of Rolls-Royce.

Remotely controlled and autonomous ships will likely represent a fundamental change in shipping over the next decade and are driving the digital transformation in the sector.


Mikael Mäkinen, Rolls-Royce, President – Marine said: “Digitalization will transform the shipping industry in the years ahead, and the time is now right to set out how we are going to make this happen. Over the coming years we need to invest globally to develop the required capabilities and to establish a range of market-ready products and systems to take advantage of what is a significant global market opportunity.”

Rolls Royce’s Centre of Excellence for autonomous shipping collaborates with the Autonomous Shipping Alliance, of which Rolls-Royce is a member. The company is now looking expand on its partnerships in order to create the capability, competencies and jobs to supply the technology and components needed for remote controlled or autonomous ships to become a reality. 

Rolls-Royce said it also plans to carry out further development projects there focused on the future development of land-based control centers, and the use of artificial intelligence in future remote and autonomous shipping operations.

Rolls-Royce’s strategic partners in the Marine R&D Centre for Remote Control & Autonomous Ships and Artificial Intelligence in Turku will be the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) and Tampere University of Technology (TUT), together with numerous SMEs and startups specialising in novel technologies.


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